JaQuan Blount and Mike Moore both recorded double-doubles as nationally 17th-ranked University of Mount Olive held on for an 82-75 victory over No. 20 GRU Augusta in non-conference men's basketball Sunday at Kornegay Arena. Dontrell Brite scored a team-high 21 points to help the Trojans withstand a late rally after leading by as many as 19 in the second half. The win in the battle of unbeatens extends the Trojans' best start in school history.
Mount Olive (7-0) opened the second half with an 18-6 run to break away from a seven-point halftime lead. Moore hit a three-pointer, Blount added a putback and a pair of free throws, and Kendall Hargrove capped the run with a driving layup to give the Trojans their biggest lead at 53-34 with 14:24 left to play.
GRU Augusta (4-1) hit 6-of-6 free throws to chip away at the lead and Devon Wright-Nelson's layup with 9:44 remaining pulled the Jaguars within 58-48. Mount Olive built the lead back up to 15 points on a three-pointer by Brite with just over six minutes left, but GRU Augusta answered with three-pointers by Devonte Thomas and Wright-Nelson to draw the Jaguars within 70-61 with 4:27 left. D'Angelo Boyce's three-pointer with 1:41 remaining made it a two-possession game at 78-72.
After Brite drove the lane for a layup with 1:15 remaining, a Jaguar offensive rebound led to another three by Boyce as the Jaguars cut Mount Olive's lead to 80-75 with 45 seconds left. Jordan McCain sank two free throws for the Trojans with 38 seconds remaining to make it a three-possession game, then blocked a shot as GRU Augusta missed on four shot attempts before Moore pulled down his game-high 11th rebound to seal the win.
In the first half, three-pointers by Brite and Moore highlighted a 10-2 run to give Mount Olive its first double-digit lead at 20-10 with 9:34 left. Another three by Brite and Hargrove's dunk down the left baseline extended the Trojans lead to 28-14 with 6:02 remaining before halftime.
GRU Augusta rallied with eight unanswered points, keyed by a three-pointer by Devonte Thomas. The Jaguars got as close as four points after Keshun Sherrill's off-balance jumper in the paint with 36 seconds left. Mount Olive got the final shot of the half as James Rucker hit a three-pointer from the left wing with 11 seconds remaining to give the Trojans a 35-28 halftime lead.
Blount finished with career highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Moore added 16 points to go with four assists and three blocked shots. Dominique Reed fought off foul trouble to score 12 points. Brite dished out a game-high seven assists.
Thomas led all players with 23 points for GRU Augusta. Wright-Nelson added 15 points, while Sherrill had 14 points and six assists. Boyce finished with 12 points and five assists for the Jaguars, who were playing their second game in as many days.
Sunday's win was Mount Olive's second this season over a nationally ranked team. The Trojans opened the season with a 90-76 win over preseason 20th-ranked USC Aiken.
Mount Olive resumes Conference Carolinas action Wednesday as the Trojans play host to Erskine. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.